“It doesn’t matter if you win as long as you give everything in your heart” – Michael Jordan

Yassir El-Tahan has been practicing Physiotherapy for over nine years with InMotion Health Centre.  We asked Yassir a few questions about his sporting activities and dealing with injury and injury prevention; here’s what he had to say.

Give us a brief summary of your involvement with organized sports.

While in Physiotherapy school, I worked as the head trainer for Dalhousie Woman’s Hockey team and Saint Mary’s Men’s Soccer team, both of which I was fortunate enough to travel to Nationals with.

I have been playing organized sports since I was 5 years old; this includes Volleyball, Soccer, Track and Field, Basketball and Ice Hockey.  I’ve played All-Star soccer growing up and Provincial basketball as well.  Currently, I play organized soccer, frisbee, football, basketball and ball hockey; in my spare time, I also enjoy skiing, hiking, snowshoeing and biking.

What are some life lessons that you have learned from being involved with so many different teams?

Organized sports serve as a great vehicle for building relationships.  Playing a number of sports I have and continue to, allow me to meet quite a few people along the way and have since developed lifelong friendships.  Working towards a common goal helps build comradery among friends and teaches you discipline that carries over to other aspects of your life.  Having been in the captain position on multiple sports teams that I’ve been involved with, I feel that this role has helped instill leadership qualities in myself.

As a Physiotherapist and heavily involved in organized sports you must see a significant number of injuries, what are some techniques to help injury prevention?  In some cases injuries are unpreventable, what are things you would recommend to someone who would like to resume to sporting?

First and foremost I would recommend proper warm up and dynamic stretching as they play an integral role in helping to deter injury, however, injuries are inevitable consequences of playing sports.  Following a musculoskeletal injury, a global approach has to be taken; underlying muscle imbalances need to be sorted out so stretch the shortened, tight muscles and strengthen the lengthened and weakened muscles.  Proprioceptive exercises are integral as well as they help teach your body to control the position of a deficient or an injured joint, a common example, for instance, is a balance exercise that uses a balance or wobble board after an ankle sprain.

The body usually has a general timeline of healing, so that needs to be respected as well, returning to a sport before you have had adequate strength or stability to a muscle or joint respectively is usually what makes individuals susceptible to re-injury.  The body’s tissues adapt to the stresses put on them, so it needs to be a gradual return to activity with increasing doses of invasiveness in order to allow the body to build up the tolerance for the injured tissues to withstand the stress associated with the sport.

From here I feel that functional based strengthening exercises come into play and are vital before complete return to sport.  For example, if a basketball player presented with an ankle injury, following the appropriate progressions of strengthening, stability, and proprioceptive training, you would also need to allow of course, for the allotted time for the body’s natural healing process.  The next step would be to commence sport specific exercises; this would consist of stop and go sprints, cutting, jumping (bilateral and unilateral and into different planes of movement).  Once strength and stability have been restored it’s very important to undergo these specific exercises and to ensure they are performed safely and pain free before returning to full competition.

Thanks Yassir for taking the time to answer these questions and offer us some insight into injury prevention and sports rehabilitation.

If you have any questions for Yassir feel free to contact him at yassir@inmotionhealthcentre.ca, or if you would like to book an appointment with Yassir for Physiotherapy please contact 747-5945 ext. 0.

Check out Yassir, on a cliff in Newfoundland taking in some great sites – keep living on the edge!!